CHAPTER V
TEMPEST IN A BOSTON TEACUP

How rich a philosophic feast was spread before Boston that winter of 1841-42! Professor Walker came in from Cambridge and delivered a series of lectures on "Natural Religion," and the Odeon was crowded to suffocation as all Boston hurried to hear him. And Emerson lectured on "The Times," his face shining with faith though his heart was sore within him for the loss of little Waldo. Parker had no such fame as attended these giants, but the old Masonic Temple was filled nevertheless, those winter nights when he read his "Discourses of Religion." He meant them to be a vindication and a confession of faith. They were to recall men from the spiritual lethargy which had crept over them, to stir their hearts and gladden their spirits and set them on the road to salvation. This was to be a message not only for Boston, for Unitarians, but for all mankind.

So Parker reached out for a wider audience; and soon he was hard at work revising and expanding, developing that theme which he had but hinted at, qualifying this generalization which was, perhaps, too sweeping, adding a paragraph here, a section there, tying the whole together, fortifying it with notes and references that bristled on every page. Long into the night he sat up in the sturdy cane chair in his study, the wind rustling the leaves of the tulip trees by the window. A bronze Spartacus stood at one end of the roll-top desk, at the other a bust of Christ ( Thorwaldsen's, it was -- how wonderfully the Dane had caught the gentleness of Jesus), symbols, perhaps, of courage and

-80-

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